U.S. Stocks Close Mostly Lower, But Nasdaq Still Inches Higher

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2021 file photo, pedestrians pass the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. Stocks are off to a sluggish start on Wall Street Tuesday, Sept. 7, as traders return from the Labor Day weekend in the U.S. Industrial and health care stocks were the biggest drag on the market in the early going. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Stocks indexes on Wall Street closed mostly lower Tuesday, though solid gains by Apple, Facebook and other tech heavyweights helped nudged the Nasdaq to another all-time high.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.3%, losing some ground after two straight weekly gains. Roughly 80% of companies in the benchmark index fell. Industrial and health care stocks were among the S&P 500′s biggest decliners. Household goods makers also weighed on the index, offsetting gains in communication services firms, technology stocks and a mix of companies that rely on consumer spending.

Small company stocks also fell broadly. Treasury yields rose, while energy futures and the price of gold fell.

The pullback in stocks came as traders returned from the Labor Day holiday weekend to a relatively light week of economic data. The last big economic snapshot, the August jobs report, came in weaker than expected last Friday, but stocks only slipped modestly on the news.

“We’re still kind of digesting Friday’s weak job number and the potential impact that might have with the economy,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial.

The S&P 500 fell 15.40 points to 4,520.03. The index remains within 0.4% of the all-time high it set last Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 269.09 points, or 0.8%, to 35,100, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 10.81 points, or 0.1%, to 15,374.33 it’s fourth consecutive record high.

Small company stocks delined. The Russell 2000 index lost 16.44 points, or 0.7%, to 2,275.61.

A rise in bond yields helped out bank stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.37% from 1.32% on Friday. Bank of America rose 0.7%.

Paint and coatings maker PPG Industries fell 3.4% after warning investors that supply chain problems and higher costs will hurt third-quarter sales. The announcement weighed on some of the company’s peers. Sherwin-Williams fell 1.5%.

Industrial sector stocks were among the S&P 500′s biggest decliners. Deere & Co. slid 4.5% and 3M lost 8.8%.

Traders are back from their summer holidays, and volatility is expected to pick up in the coming days and weeks. Stocks churned higher throughout the summer, helped by stronger-than-expected earnings from big companies as well as guidance from the Federal Reserve that the central bank plans to keep interest rates low.

The market had only a mild negative reaction to the August jobs report, which showed employers hired fewer workers than expected. The report came out Friday, just ahead of the Monday expiration of extended unemployment benefits, which had been in place since March 2020, when the pandemic started.

“The economy has been showing signs of weakening and we’re seeing a clear impact from the delta variant seeping into economic data,” Detrick said.

That same weakness could also have an upside for investors who are hoping the Federal Reserve maintains its support for low interest rates while the jobs market and broader economy continue recovering.

“You have to wonder whether we are in a bad news is good news scenario regarding the Fed,” Detrick said.

Investors have a few economic reports on tap for the week.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department will report job openings for July. The jobs market is still struggling to recover from the pandemic and employers have been finding it difficult to fill openings amid lingering health fears and the resurgent virus could make it even more difficult.

On Friday, investors will get another update on inflation when the Labor Department reports on inflation at the wholesale level before costs are passed on to consumers.

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA  - Sep 7. 2021 - 4:59 PM ET




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